OP: 「ハイスペックDays」 (Haisupekku Days) by 大島はるな (Oushima Haruna)
I’ve been hearing about the death of the anime industry for a very long time. And as one would for the proverbial boy who cried wolf, I’ve stopped worrying about it. Sure, we’re long past the golden age of anime when the rivers ran with talent and budget, but the industry chugs on nonetheless, though perhaps at the expense of the sanity of the poor souls who actually have to make the anime. A slow and manageable decline, however, does not grab headlines as snappily as THE DEATH OF ANIME, AGAIN, and as a blogger always in search of material you can guess at which tone I’d prefer to take. Spring 2016, though, has unfortunately been a season full of variety and depth, which frustrates my attempts to spin a sensationalist narrative. But there is one bright spark of mediocrity in this dark abyss of quality, and that is Wagamama High Spec. This show is the distillation of all of Japanese popular visual media into a single five minute bite of lucidity. This is at once the cancer killing anime, and brilliant perfection. Because Wagahai, unlike any other anime, gets it. Observe.
Okay, time to strip!
This is everything. This is anime.
For those who didn’t read about this show in the preview, Wagahai is essentially a promotion for a visual novel that’s not quite out yet, and is slated for translation into English later this year. What we have here, really, is a five minute commercial for some other product every week. There’s some cardboard cutouts (the irony!) who will try explain what it’s all about, but let’s not kid ourselves, is any of it really important? Wagahai is a short, so it needs to get to the point straight away. Look, breasts! This is what we’re selling. We’re done!
Even the great Shinkai Makoto, one of anime’s greatest sons, has Cross Road, which was very pretty but was literally a two minute ad for a correspondence study company. These days, anime doesn’t sell. So it needs to sell.
And so here we have it, anime in its purest form, a fanservice comedy with no need for pretense or even premise. It got hot in there, so they needed to take off their clothes. Hey, don’t laugh, there’s a rapper who made a lot of money off this simple idea. And in that light, Wagamama High Spec is doing everything right.